(an adventure in relativity)

We shouldn't be here.

I have been sitting at my drawing table (tucked beneath the basement stairs) this chilly October evening working on a drawing. I was listening to a CD of an old Gordon Lightfoot album, munching on a handful of M&Ms... okay, another handful of M&Ms... okay the WHOLE BAG of M&Ms.... when it hit me that all this stuff just shouldn't be here. None of it. Me. My drawing table, music, light, M&Ms... this pain in my stomach from eating too many M&Ms....

Where did all this stuff come from?

It seems to me there just should be nothing. And not even that, because nothing - even vast, endless empty space - would be something.

So how did we get here?

Scientists want me to believe a big bang is responsible for all of this, that the little "m" on my new blue M&Ms came from an explosion billions and billions of years ago.

Okay. But then where did all the stuff come from that went BOOM! in the first place? Who put that stuff there? (And how did they cram it all so tightly together?)

More importantly, who made all the rules and laws of physics that make it all work? (the ones Scotty, the chief mechanic on the Starship Enterprise, was always telling Capt. Kirk he can't change).

And who made the THERE where this big explosion happened?

As I see it I am left with two possible explanations. Either all this stuff of the universe - and all the laws that hold it together - was just always here, or it all just appeared out of nowhere for no reason.

(Watch the frog!))

I told the kids once, it would be as if you put a lid on an empty peanut butter jar, sealed it all up with duct tape, left it out on your dresser over night - and the next morning found a frog inside. Or closer to the reality of our situation, you found a miniature Mozart sitting at a tiny piano composing "Eine Kleine Nacht Music." ...or maybe four tiny Beatles singing, "Help!"

Wouldn't your first question be, "Hey! Who put the tiny Beatles in my jar???

Incredibly, the Bible has an answer.

Well, maybe not to who put the tiny Beatles in the peanut butter jar, but to who put everything else here (which, all in all, is really even more amazing).

God did.

But while that answer is satisfying, it still leaves me with the question any four year old will ask...

"Okay... but where did God come from?"

And again, I am left with the same two possibilities I was left with before. Either God was just always here. Or HE sprang from nothing.

The Bible goes with the "always here" option. God told Moses his name was "I AM" - saying, in effect, "I always was, always am, and always will be. I have no beginning and no end. I am the eternal present."

The Psalms say, "From everlasting to everlasting, he is God." Everlasting back into the past, everlasting forward into the future. Endless one way and the other.

The thing is, either we came from stuff that always was (or stuff that sprang from nothing). Or we came from God, who always was.

It seems to me either possibility is equally beyond my comprehending. From that perspective they are exactly the same.

Yet for some reason these days believing in God is often dismissed as an unsophisticated and unscientific leap of faith.

When the truth is, NOT believing in God requires the exact same kind of leap of faith.

Only in that case, there is no one there to catch you.

Wonderful Things

October, 1996

1997 Paul Dallgas-Frey


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